Tablets are friend, not foe, to TV

Far from cannibalising ratings, the viewing of TV shows on tablet devices is actually driving an increase in regular TV viewing, according to new findings from US analyst house The Diffusion Group (TDG).

These latest findings run contrary to the suspicions of many in the TV industry that by spending more time watching programs on non-TV platforms like iPads and Kindle Fires, viewers are spending less time watching “regular” television.

According to new research from TDG, 88% of adult tablet owners in the US use the device to watch video, with television programmes ranking high on their content list.

Infographic - tablets vs. TV

TDG found tablets are actually increasing regular TV viewing in most cases

Among 18-49s that use their tablets to watch online TV programmes (a key TV demographic), 39% report that their tablet viewing has led to an increase in regular TV viewing. Otherwise, 46% report no change and 15% report a decrease in regular TV viewing. Even among users aged 50+, the net impact is close to zero.

“This is a conclusion of particular relevance to those involved in the TV industry including networks, multichannel operators, and advertisers,” notes Bill Niemeyer, TDG Senior Analyst. “The data clearly shows that watching online TV shows on a tablet drives greater TV viewing among the highly-desired and increasingly hard-to-reach 18-49s.”

Market penetration of tablet devices is set to ramp up quickly with the introduction of mid-market pads that have compelling functionality and mass-market pricing, such as the new lineup of Amazon Kindle Fire tablets, meaning more consumers will be using pads to watch video – whether over WiFi or mobile high-speed networks, and whether in or out of the home.

“At the moment, this is a win/win for TV networks that can monetise tablet viewing via advertising, pay-per-view, or subscription OTT revenue, while at the same time reaping the benefits of increased viewing of their regular TV programming,” added Mr. Niemeyer.

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